Yikes, and other reactions to being googled… also, “why the MRI machine is my worst nightmare”

One of the search results for my blog this morning was my full name (yes, middle name included). This was unnerving. Not only because I try so hard to keep my identity a secret (joking, I am an open book) but also because the only people who read this blog are my stalwart supporters (i.e. my mentor, Haba-na-Haba) and my family/friends (i.e. people who know the name of this blog). Occasionally people get here by searching “What is happening in Malawi” or “Om-nom-nom” or “_____ Book Reviews” but my readership only goes above 30 people a day about once a month. This has led me to conclude that I only have something interesting to say about once a month… and yet, I persist. Anyhow, the odd thing about being searched by your whole name is that you instantly go into a frenzy trying to work out who it was that searched for you and how they felt about the results. For example, I know that my undergraduate “Athlete Bio” is the first thing that comes up when you search for me; however, because I have neither a Linked-In account nor a Facebook account, my internet presence still makes a pitifully small footprint. I imagine that reading my athlete bio is pretty dry reading (though I am proud of those accomplishments) and so people probably move on to link #2 pretty quickly.

What I think about people reading my blog. The good thing about a blog is that it allows for some degree of anonymity. You can say anything that comes to your mind without real fear of the ramifications. On the other hand, my mom reads this blog. Sometimes my dad reads this blog. Some of my former/current professors and colleagues even read this blog. You would be surprised how effective these exogenous forces are at screening my ideas before they make it onto the page. Essentially, while I am sometimes melodramatic, I have not yet put something up here that I would be ashamed for a stranger to read. I hope that at best these posts are funny or enlightening and at worst they are dull or sappy.

Who I think read my blog. Aye, there’s the rub. Because I am still in the agonizing process of “hearing back from graduate schools,” my greatest source of hope/anxiety is that I am being searched by a potential advisor who is interested in my application and wants to put a face/blog to a name. In many ways, this blog is something like the personal statement I never got to write (you only do statements of purpose for graduate school) and is a testament to my academic and personal evolution over the past 2 years. Even if you, mysterious googler, are not a potential advisor, I hope that you have found this blog interesting.

IN OTHER NEWS: On Sunday, I am scheduled to be dropped head-first into a narrow tube and then bombarded with noise for half an hour. No, this is not a scene out of the sci-fi cult-classic Tank Girl, this is “MRI Month”. The last MRI that I received was in fourth year of university when they checked up on the status of my chronic spondylolysis (L3, L4 & L5) and acute spondylolysthesis (at L5-S1). I hot-linked those words because I have been asked a few times recently “what is actually wrong with your back” and wikipedia saves me from having to explain things in detail. Good Times.

For those of you who have never had an MRI… it is the WORST. The top of the tube feels like it is 2 inches from your face, it is very loud, and you cannot move for the duration of the scan (30-45 minutes for the one that I am having done). Imagine being buried alive in a jet engine.

On the other hand, consider the wonders of Canada’s Universal Health Care System. In the US (where I was lucky enough to have my health care bills paid by the University’s athletics department) a routine MRI scan of this nature would cost upwards of $2000. Under extended medical (thanks Daddy!) and government subsidized health care, I am going to pay a whopping zero dollars. So I will come out of the procedure on Sunday with a headache and a case of the heebie-jeebies, but without having to sell my liver to find out what is wrong with my spine. VICTORY!



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